Drew Niv, William Ahdout reach $6.5M settlement with FXCM investors in securities class action
A securities class action brought by a number of investors in Global Brokerage, Inc. formerly known as FXCM, Inc. (FXCM) back in 2017 is finally close to its conclusion.
On February 3, 2023, the parties in this lawsuit filed a proposed settlement with the New York Southern District Court. Shipco Transport Inc. and E-Global Trade and Finance Group, Inc., on behalf of themselves and the certified Class, submitted the documents for Preliminary Approval of the Class Action Settlement.
Plaintiffs and defendants Dror Niv and William Ahdout have agreed to settle this action for $6,500,000.
The certified Class comprises:
All persons and/or entities that purchased or otherwise acquired publicly traded Global Brokerage, Inc., f/k/a FXCM Inc. (“FXCM”) Class A common stock, during the period March 15, 2012 through February 6, 2017, both dates inclusive. Excluded from the Class are: (i) Defendants; (ii) current and former officers, employees, consultants and directors of FXCM and FXCM Holdings, LLC; (iii) siblings, parents, children, spouses, and household members of any person excluded under (i) and (ii); (iv) any entities affiliated with, controlled by, or more than 5% owned by, any person excluded under (i) through (iii); and (v) the legal representatives, heirs, successors or assigns of any person excluded under (i) through (iv).
Let’s recall that, the plaintiffs in this lawsuit include (inter alia): Lead Plaintiff 683 Capital Partners, LP and Class Representatives Shipco Transport Inc. and E-Global Trade and Finance Group, Inc.
The plaintiffs bring claims against FXCM, Dror Niv, and William Ahdout under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b- 5 promulgated thereunder. Shipco and E-Global bring claims on behalf of themselves and a certified Class comprising “all persons and/or entities that purchased or otherwise acquired publicly traded Global Brokerage, Inc., f/k/a FXCM Inc. (“FXCM”) Class A common stock, during the period March 15, 2012 through February 6, 2017, both dates inclusive.” 683 Capital brings its claims on an individual basis.
The plaintiffs alleged the defendants committed securities fraud by misrepresenting and omitting material facts about FXCM’s secret relationship with Effex Capital, LLC. FXCM offered foreign exchange trading to retail customers, touting their “No Dealing Desk” or “agency model,” where instead of FXCM trading directly opposite the customer, FXCM connected the customer with a liquidity provider offering the best price, with FXCM merely adding a mark-up to the price as a commission.
However, according to the plaintiffs, unbeknownst to FXCM’s customers and investors, FXCM was secretly receiving kickbacks of roughly 70% of the trading profits from Effex, one of FXCM’s primary liquidity providers who was trading against FXCM’s customers.
According to the plaintiffs’ complaint, Effex was run by John Dittami, whom Defendants Niv and Ahdout hired at FXCM to create an internal trading system, EES, that would compete with external market makers. Dittami’s contract with FXCM provided for a 70-30 split of EES’s trading profits (70% to FXCM). When FXCM’s compliance department decided that FXCM could not truthfully say it was operating an agency model if EES was trading against FXCM’s customers, Defendants decided to spin off EES as Effex. However, FXCM and Effex kept the 70-30 split of trading profits—with Effex swapping in for Dittami and FXCM keeping its 70% share—which they disguised as “payments for order flow.” FXCM provided critical support to Effex for years, and Effex relied on FXCM to stay afloat.
Effex became one of FXCM’s biggest liquidity providers and Defendants provided special trading advantages to direct more of FXCM’s trading volume to Effex.
In 2013 and 2014 the National Futures Association (NFA) and the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) began investigating FXCM’s relationship with Effex. On February 6, 2017, after the close of trading, the NFA and CFTC announced regulatory settlements with the defendants, revealing the undisclosed relationship between FXCM and Effex and imposing severe penalties. The next day, the price of FXCM securities dropped precipitously, harming Plaintiffs and the Class.
The Settlement provides for a Settlement Fund of $6,500,000 in cash. Plaintiffs’ damages expert estimated maximum aggregate damages of $17.5 million in Plaintiffs’ best-case scenario.
The Settlement represents a strong result for the Class, returning approximately 37% of maximum potential damages to investors. This best-case scenario assumes that Plaintiffs prevail at trial and the Court and jury accept Plaintiffs’ damages theory, including proof of loss causation, in the full amount proffered by Plaintiffs’ expert. Anything less than a complete victory would decrease, or potentially eliminate, recoverable damages.